Skip to main content

57: Isn’t a Little Dose of Fear Good for Kids?

By April 2, 2019November 9th, 2023Mastermind Parenting Podcast
57: Isn’t a Little Dose of Fear Good for Kids?
In this episode, I talk about the common belief that all kids need a healthy dose of fear to turn out well and choose to do the right thing. I dispel this myth and explain the way to encourage your kids to “do the right thing” without fear-based thinking running the show.
Topics Covered:
  • Fear-based thinking
  • Mama social engineering
  • Teenagers and using fear and control to protect them
  • Primal wiring and why fear is our autopilot programming
  • “What you focus on grows” and focusing on fear will manifest the thing you’re fearful about

As always, thanks for listening, and be sure and head over to Facebook and you can join my free group Mastermind Parenting Community, where we post tips and tools and do pop up Live conversations where I do extra teaching and coaching to support you in helping your strong-willed children so that they can FEEL better and DO better. If you enjoyed this episode and think that others could benefit from listening, please share it!

About Randi Rubenstein

Randi Rubenstein helps parents with a strong-willed kiddo become a happier family and enjoy the simple things again like bike rides and beach vacays.

She’s the founder of Mastermind Parenting, host of the Mastermind Parenting podcast, and author of The Parent Gap. Randi works with parents across the U.S.

At Mastermind Parenting, we believe every human deserves to have a family that gets along.

Randi’s Social Links

Links & Resources

For more help, reach out to me for support:

Get my Free Guide!

This guide contains the condensed nuggets of my mind mastering parenting recipe. I’ve been developing my signature Mastermind Parenting method for over twenty years and I’m BEEEyond thrilled to share it with you. It has the power not to just improve the conversations and relationships in your family but digging in and doing this work will change your life. I can’t wait for you to get started so I can teach you everything! Head over here to get your copy

Apply for Free Coaching!

Thank you so much for listening and being an amazing mama that listens to parenting podcasts! I absolutely love connecting with other moms during the Real Coaching with Randi monthly segment and share their story. If you would like to get some free coaching on a future episode, head over to and hit the Apply button.

Get my book!

Hear about my family history and the tools that have helped me replace old parenting patterns that simply don’t work with these puzzling kiddos. It’s my way of paying it forward as a human that wants our kids to experience a kinder and more generous world. Head over here to get your copy

Thanks so much for listening to the Mastermind Parenting podcast, where we support the strong willed child and the families that love them!

If you enjoyed this episode and think that others could benefit from listening, please share it using the share button in the podcast player above.

Don’t forget to subscribe on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or Stitcher.


0 (0s):
You’re listening to the Mastermind Parenting Podcast with Randi Rubenstein episode 57. My name’s Randi Rubenstein and welcome to the Mastermind Parenting Podcast where we believe when your thoughts gro the conversations in your home flow. Okay. Today I have a topic which is all about fear, and I’ve heard it. I’ve heard this said by people that I deeply respect and I have to have to disagree with them, but I’ve heard it said that is that, you know, a healthy dose of Fear is good for Kids.

0 (44s):
It helps to keep ’em in line. It helps to keep them in check. I, I really I’ve heard people preach This people that I really respect. And the belief has, has really been this in our culture. That it’s fear that keeps people in line. The fear of going to prison, prevent some people from breaking the law, or does it, you know, if you look at the prison recidivism rates, it’s 83%, like only 17% of all prisoners actually get rehabilitated over two thirds of them re-offend and return to prison within nine years over two-thirds 83% re RO it seems like for you, you might not be cutting the mustard in terms of teaching people right from wrong.

0 (1m 36s):
I mean, that’s what the stats say. And what about when parents are operating from a fearful place? Like the mom that is fearful, that are quiet. First grader will grow to be the kid eating all alone in middle school. So she arranges multiple play dates each week to help better socialize them. But you all know what happens when you socially engineer like that. These playdates never go well in her kids constantly says there’s nothing to do. We’re bored. So the mom finds herself, jumping through hoops, playing Julie, the cruise director from the love boat. And so she’s exhausted. She’s exhausted. So her Fear is exhausting, both hurt me and her child.

0 (2m 18s):
And now her kid’s starting to resent her will also feeling like there might be something wrong with him because he’s quiet and he doesn’t want to play host. What about the super strict mom of the high school girl who won’t allow her Teenagers to spread her wings a little bit? And she tracks her every move on, find my iPhone. Although I have to admit that my husband does that probably with me. He does it with my daughter too. I call them the stalker, but that’s another topic for another day. Don’t worry, you guys, there’s going to be an episode and we felt call them out on that. And he’s agreed to do an episode with me.

0 (2m 58s):
So that’s coming from the future. But you know, this mom to her daughter knows that she does this she’s that mom. She is the strict mom. So I think that that any time our fear based mind takes over and runs the show. It, it never really turns out well, if you really look closely, I mean, it’s a Primal thing, like deep within the part of our brain, that was programmed. When we were cave people, the amygdala, it sort of like, you know, it sorta like when I shouldn’t have, I shouldn’t compare us to dogs, but I can’t help myself. I’m such a dog lover, but it’s kind of like my, my part Yorkie Stella, when we had more money or a hamster may rest and peace, we had to do it.

0 (3m 48s):
We had to Dr. Kevorkian him because they had a tumor or the size of his Head, but that’s another topic or another day as well. But when we had Morty, Stella literally stood at Morty’s cage all day long, like in the praying mantis position, she just couldn’t help herself. Like there was that Primal part of her as a terrier that was like, must hunt, rodents, rodent, living in the house. She’s wired for that. I mean, she’s, she, she lives in, she’s not, you know, that part of her, it, that, that needs to hunt re rodents. That goes way, way back.

0 (4m 29s):
I that’s not necessary anymore. She’s like a dog, you know, she’s an urban dog. We take her to the groomer and pay way too much money for her. But, but, but she’s wired like that. Just like we are wired from that place of fear, that part of our brain that is constantly looking for the tiger in the jungle for the tiger in the jungle. But it’s not a tiger in the jungle. It’s just our teenage daughter who wants to go out with their friends and maybe make some bad decisions as Teenagers do and be a little impulsive. And I am not sitting here condoning any of those decisions.

0 (5m 11s):
However, it is a part of teenagehood. So she’s not a tiger in the jungle. And in this day in age, we have Uber and all kinds of, of advancements that we can, you know, when we have a, a good relationship with our kids and we can talk about these things openly, we, we have different ways to help protect them. But living in that state of fear, absolutely preventing any wings spreading is never going to turn out well between that mom and that daughter. So anyway, the part, the, the bottom line is, is that we aren’t cave people.

0 (5m 55s):
We live in a modern world, in a city. Like I live in a city with phenomenal shopping, five minutes away. Okay. It’s not a tiger. There’s no tigers anywhere close to me, except in the Houston zoo behind a beautiful, well, eh, well, manicured enclosure. So operating from a place of fear isn’t needed or helpful in this day and age, there’s so many negative results. You guys that come from Fear. First of all, when we operate from a place of fear, it comes off as graspy in it acts as a repellent. Other people think about that graspy friend or, or the love interest that like nobody wants to hang around with the person with that graspy energy who is constantly trying to control everyone around them.

0 (6m 45s):
Nobody, that’s not, you know, if it’s not fun and as far as Fear being necessary to keep kids in line, it doesn’t seem to be doing a very good job with our prisoners. So, I mean, there is some evidence and Kids that our parents had with Fear simply learn how to lie in the sneaky. Here is not an effective measure to help kids make better choices. They’re gonna do the same things that you tried to scare them not to do. You just might not know about it, but the bottom line is, if you think back to when you were a teenager, did you really ever stop doing anything because your parents threatened you or you were scared.

0 (7m 25s):
They were going to find out where sometimes did that. Even Hiten the excitement and the adrenaline rush in the sensation, and you just got really good about hiding it and concealing it, right? So the fear tactics that many parents use to scare their kids, not to do things for the high school mom, with the teenage daughter, who’s operating firm, such a place of fear or an understandable, please, how many times can I talk to my daughter about date rape and, and how important sobriety is in terms of never letting your guard down. It’s just a scary world. You know, I’m like, look, that’s not, I mean, if for no other reason than you cannot put your guard down, it’s a scary world out there.

0 (8m 14s):
So I have that conversation with her a lot of the time. However, at the end of the day, she is going to have to police herself. I got to give her the tools and teach her to police. Or now we can have lots of conversations about this, but I have to give them the tools. And if I try and micromanager, all she’s going to do is get sneakier. Does that make sense? Do you guys get that? And when we use fear tactics that involve aggression and intimidation. Yeah. Well that just results in your kids hating your guts. So there is that right? I think we can all agree that hatred between our kids and ourselves, it’s, it’s not a good thing, but it never turns out well, that’s not our goal.

0 (8m 59s):
So remember you guys, as I like to say, what we focus on grows, focus on Fear and you’ll get more of the thing you’re most fearful of. That’s the way it works nowadays. So if you’re using fear of threats and verbal or physical aggression, the parent be prepared first, super after a relationship with your kids in the future. Really just please hear me. When I say there is such a better way. I’m dying to teach her to you. That’s why you’re here with me. There is such a better way. Do you do not need to scare the living crap out of your kids? It’s not effective and it will damage your relationship.

0 (9m 42s):
So I, I don’t judge, right? Like I don’t judge for doing, for you doing what was done for you. You may have never even questioned it. That’s what we do when things are programed in our subconscious brain. And we don’t, we don’t question it, it just as what comes online for us. But when you do start to question it, when you do start to get curious, right? I think it’s really impressive. I’m thinking it’s really impressive that you have it in you. And you’re like, I’m going to be a trailblazer. I, I do wanna do it differently. I do believe her. So if you’re ready to be the parent that maybe nobody really wants to say this, but maybe the parents that you wished you’d had, like, please keep listening to you guys.

0 (10m 28s):
Please reach out. If you are ready to fast track the results. And that’s what I have to say is Fear coming from a place of fear. We’re work. We’re telling you now, I mean, we are telling you doesn’t work coming from a place of love coming from a place of connection, coming from a place of PAC leadership, coming from a place of open PRODUCTIVE conversations and Real communication and being on the same team with your kids and being their soft place to land. Hmm. That is how you get the big results.

0 (11m 8s):
That is what works. Okay. That’s what I got for you guys have a great week.

1 (11m 14s):
Hey, podcast listeners, if you happen to have a strong-willed kid who is kind of pushing everyone of your buttons lately, I have a resource for you. I made you guys a free guide where you’re going to get some tools and tips and strategies to quickly get on the road to creating a happier household. I know you’re pulling your hair out. I wanted to make you something. So you could start getting some quick wins and building some momentum. So if you want to grab your copy, just go to Mastermind Parenting dot com forward slash Free Guide and you enjoy it.

Happy Household Cover

Sign Up for Our Newsletter and Get Our Free Guide

Creating A Happier Household

by Randi Rubenstein